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IPCC Report Released. Can and Will the World Act on Climate Change?

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Jared Anderson, Managing Editor at Breaking Energy, covered international oil and natural gas market fundamentals as an Analyst then Senior Analyst in the Research & Advisory division at...

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  • Nov 5, 2014 10:00 pm GMT

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Report Blames Human Activity For Global Warming

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released what it calls the Synthesis Report on Sunday, which incorporates findings from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months. The latest report confirms the serious risks that climate changeposes, indicates climate change impacts are already occurring and suggests there is still time to address the issue before the most devastating global warming impacts are unleashed.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little room for optimism. According to IPCC Chair R.K. Pachauri, “Addressing climate change will not be possible if individual agents advance their own interests independently; it can only be achieved through cooperative responses, including international cooperation.”

That’s problematic because individual agents advancing their own interests independently could be a text book definition of the free market capitalist system that powers the global economy. Put aside for a moment the nefarious assertion that the most powerful of these agents possess disproportionate policy-making heft and may thus work to block climate change policies that do not suit their interests.

While that may be the case, it will be difficult enough to get the world’s myriad and disparate climate change stakeholders to come together in support of any particular policy – or set of policies – given their diverse and often competing motivations. Now layer on your lobbying, campaign finance shenanigans and back-room dealings and it becomes difficult to be optimistic that government leaders will be able to bring these forces to heel as they forge binding international climate rules.

That said, climate optimism remains and here is what some interested parties had to say about the latest IPCC report.

Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists’ director of strategy and policy: “The scientists have done their job and then some,” Meyer said. “The risks are clear. Politicians can either dramatically reduce emissions or they can spend the rest of their careers running from climate disaster to climate disaster. Thankfully, many leaders are finally waking up to the costs of dealing with runaway climate change that scientists have been warning about for years. Now they must move quickly to take action at home, and work together to reach an ambitious and equitable climate agreement in Paris.”

Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Programs, World Resources Institute: “As momentum for global action builds, this report reminds us that the impacts of climate change are dangerous and far-reaching. No one reading this report can doubt the reality of climate change. Unless we sharply reduce carbon pollution, the toll on our economies and people’s well-being will be far more than we can bear.

“The good news is that solutions are well understood. A growing body of evidence finds that action on climate change can go hand-in-hand with policies that will strengthen our economies.

“The synthesis report should bring a deep sense of purpose to the climate talks in Lima. Negotiators need to lay the groundwork for a strong and universal climate agreement to be finalized in Paris next year.”

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune: “This landmark report makes it absolutely clear: we must rapidly transition to a clean energy economy free from dirty fossil fuels, and we must do it now. In the starkest terms ever used, the scientific community is looking world leaders directly in the eye and demanding that they wake up. To fight global poverty, sustain stable governments and societies, and maintain a livable planet, all findings indicate that we should kick fossil fuels to the curb. The silver lining to the report is that it recognizes clean energy climate solutions are affordable and ready to deploy.

“We do not need any more reports – we need action. We don’t have any more time to coddle fossil fuel billionaires or politicians who will eschew responsibility at every corner. That’s what the 400,000 people who marched in September demanded and that is what the scientific community is again confirming. The stakes for negotiations in Lima and Paris are now obvious, and the table is set for world leaders to take significant, immediate action to avert catastrophe. The alarm bells ringing from the streets of New York to the halls of the U.N. are too loud to sleep through, and time is of the essence.”

Bob Perciasepe, President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: “The IPCC synthesis report delivers a critical message at a critical moment. The core findings aren’t new, but the report makes them clearer than ever, and they are worth underscoring.

It’s important to be reminded of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change as the United States works toward its most ambitious steps ever to cut carbon emissions and nations work toward the Paris agreement.

The core message from the IPCC is the growing urgency of action. We have real opportunities next year to make progress both in the U.S. and globally. The scientists have done their job. Now it’s up to governments to do theirs.”

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Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Nov 5, 2014


I think the U.S. elections just gave us the answer.

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Nov 5, 2014

In the good ole days of invention, republicans supported advanced nuclear research more than democrats. Now, I’m afraid they forgot what science is. It’ sad that the U.S. will fail due to its own division.

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Nov 5, 2014

Pessimism is the result from the inability to collectively apply a coherent effort into developing the intrinsically least expensive, most abundant sources. This is caused by the lack of willingness from the public at large to educate themselves about what it takes to truly become fossil free. The inability to decipher that diffuse and intermittent sources will require far more energy, mass and storage (and land) than advanced molten salt type nuclear is only excusable due to the blame of environmental organizations which predetermine to neglect such important inputs to the debate.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Nov 5, 2014


But that support was a function of wanting to use nuclear energy to bomb the communists. 

Makes me sort of miss the communists…



Math Geurts's picture
Math Geurts on Nov 5, 2014

See table 3.2 on page 66 of the report.

Anyone who is really convinced that Climate Change is the biggest threath has to accept CCS and/or bioenergy, if feasable. One could easily get the impression that there are a lot Climate deniers in Greenpeace and onther environmental NGO’s nowadays.



Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Nov 5, 2014

They must also accept nuclear energy.  Most of the major “environmental” organizations have anti-nuclearism as an article of faith, denial of which is an excommunication-level offense (see Greenpeace trying to drive Patrick Moore into un-personhood).

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Nov 6, 2014

Warming could possibply be “cool”, but acidification is not. With warming, you get mere sea level rise where “only” trillions of dollars worth of real estate becomes inadated due to the expansion of water and melting of the caps. With acidification, we commence total alteration to the biosphere as we know it – search Permian triasic extintion.

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